Published On: Sun, Sep 12th, 2021

Embezzling notary sent to jail

WILLEMSTAD — Eighteen months of imprisonment and a 5-year ban on functioning as a public notary. That is the punishment the Court in First Instance handed down on Friday to Johnny Kleinmoedig for stealing around 1.4 million guilders (a bit more than $782,000) from his clients over a ten-year period.

The verdict is more severe than the demand from the public prosecutor. The court ordered the immediate imprisonment of the defendant, even though the prosecutor had not asked for this measure. The court also ignored the prosecution’s suggestion to make 6 months of the prison sentence conditional.

The 59-year old Kleinmoedig, a partner in the office of Kleinmoedig&Alexander, is also a renowned composer and concert pianist. Kleinmoedig bought a car and a Steinway piano with the stolen money and because he used the rest of the money to support his lifestyle, it is quite possible that the prosecutor’s office will confiscate the prized instrument further down the road. Depending on the model, Steinways retail from $35,000 up to $171,000.

The now former notary has to report to the prison in Koraal Specht on Monday morning. His attorney Bertie Braam has announced that he will appeal the verdict, including the demand for immediate imprisonment.

The court found that Kleinmoedig transferred money his clients deposited on his office’s third-party account to his private bank account. He used the money to buy a car, the earlier mentioned piano and to support his lifestyle. Taken together, this amounts to money laundering.

“During a period of ten years the defendant embezzled and laundered significant amounts of money,” the court ruling states. Kleinmoedig attempted to hide his nefarious activities by transferring part of the money to his mother’s bank account.

The court notes that Kleinmoedig’s actions have negatively affected the confidence the community must be able to entrust to people who hold a confidential position. The court considered on the other hand the negative impact of the verdict on Kleinmoedig. He has lost his position as a notary and the associated loss of income will negatively affect his standing within his family and within the community.

The verdict may very well also ruin Kleimoedig’s standing as a composer of classical Curacao salon-music and as a concert pianist. In the past he has performed with the late Wim Statius Muller and with Livio Hermans.

Related article: Notary plays a false note and faces profession ban